Cold Comfort Farm [1995]

This hilarious spoof on British costume dramas based on great literature stars Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing) as a strong-willed, young woman named Miss Flora Poste, who finds herself orphaned and without means in the 1930s. Moving in with some half-savage relatives on a country farm, Flora is hardly daunted by their primitivism (as she might have been in a novel by Thomas Hardy) but instead takes charge and imposes hygiene, order, and good manners on the dirty, superstitious lot. John Schlesinger directs this brisk, infectious adaptation of the 1932 novel by Stella Gibbons. Beckinsale is wonderful, and the rest of the savvy, inspired cast perfectly send up a host of literary clich├ęs. --Tom Keogh

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